Europa Universalis IV

After a bit of a break from the game just to learn that HOI 4 is actually more broken, I'm off on another run myself

Spoiler :

Trying to one tag from here.

Edit: Finished the run:

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You can only do it by inane minmaxing, and the game is tailored to people who are stupidly into that
i have some ridiculously huge number of hours in this game and I still haven't done a WC. I've several times gotten to a point where I could have done so with enough boring grindwork, but never managed to force myself to actually follow through.

(Like, if you're playing Austria and manage to get to the "revoke the privilegia" reform by the mid-1500s with 70+ HRE princes making up everything east of France and west of Poland... nothing is going to stand in the way of a vassal swarm of that size and you still have well over 250 years to eat the world, but man is it a grind.)
i have some ridiculously huge number of hours in this game and I still haven't done a WC.
Same here.
In fact, I don't think I've even played into 19th century more than once or twice.
Once you become No 1 Great Power, it just stops being interesting...
Hello folks,
I first bought and played this game around release but put it down for years. I recently got the DLC pass for a month to try it out and I'm honestly not sure what to think.

My first overall impression is total click fatigue. Everything just seems to take so many clicks, it's a great workout for my finger. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the semi-scripted nature of the game either; 9 times out of 10 Castille will get an instant PU over Aragon and go on to dominate, the Burgundian Crisis causes total mayhem in central Europe, I don't think I've ever seen Italy not fall out of the HRE.

There are two things I really don't like, both of which are sadly fundamental parts of the game, namely trade and monarch points. I like to refer to the trade system as 'obscurely simple' because although it seems to have a lot of moving parts, the best strategy is to conquer provinces in an arbitrary trade node. If you want mega-bucks, sail your armies to northern France and southern England and conquer these provinces. As an 'end-node,' the trade within can't go anywhere else and you reap everything. It's a 100% rigid, static system that never changes depending on how the map evolves. If China and Japan evolve as superpowers but the British Isles are reduced to warring fiefdoms, all trade will still flow to London. Sometimes the best strategy is to move your capital and trading city away from your starting one to better manipulate the trade system, since you often cannot send trade back to your starting trade node. It's all so 'gamey.'

Monarch points are a fundamentally bad idea, in my opinion. Virtually every action in the game is heavily abstracted down to three different types of magic power = admin, diplo and military. Ridiculous situations occur all the time. If I want to spent my diplo points on improving my colonial ideas, I may suddenly find myself unable to peace out in a war because that also requires diplo points. If I invest my points into the military through aristocratic ideas, I have to wait 5 months before I recruit a general because that also requires military points. Worst of all though, monarch point generation is overwhelmingly based on RNG of my ruler. I know I can augment it by hiring advisors and manipulating estates, but early RNG can mean the difference between +4 or +10 per month in a category. That is enormous.

In short, not sure if I'll continue with my DLC subscription.

Kind regards,
Ita Bear
It's always fun that 1 time out of 10 that Aragon gets a personal union over Castile though.

I agree that it can be a great workout for the finger. There are a lot of systems with all the DLCs (and I don't have all of them yet, I've added about one per year on average). I could imagine going from none/few to "all" could be a bit large of a jump. Once I'm playing a halfway large nation I'm rarely idle, there's always something to check. Though that doesn't necessarily apply when playing Dithmarschen or Thomond.

But more seriously, preferences will vary. I like that what happened historically is more likely to happen, but not guaranteed to happen. In most games, something unusual at a large scale will happen, but many large-scale trends roughly happen as expected. Granted I've yet to see Italy remain in the HRE either (unless I'm the one playing an Italian HRE state and deem the Emperor's protection worth the malus for staying).

Trade, I agree, it's not very engaging. It's less micromanagey than EU2/EU3 though. Having the option of steering the opposite way in EU5 would be great.

Monarch points are an abstraction that I like. Yes, it's unrealistic that if you just updated your tech you can't hire a general. But at a higher level, I find it's a great way of simulating that there's only so much a monarch can do, and some are better than others, including in particular areas of expertise. Perhaps it requires subscribing a bit to the Great Man Theory of history, but I would argue that especially in a monarchy the skill of a monarch does have a significant impact.

It is one of the more common criticisms of the game. But what I see less often are proposed and workable replacements that still represent variable ruler skill while giving the player agency over how to react to the relative surplus or deficit of skill.

(Disclaimer, I've also played much more EU4 than any other Paradox game, as well as EU3 before that, so I may be biased. And I've played quite a bit of HOI4, CKII, and Vicky II, so playing quite a bit more EU4 is saying something)
Frankly, sliders are great at showing the limited resources of a country for all of its objectives but... I don't really think it is less of an abstraction than mana, and kind of removes the little influence that your ruler might have on things. It's also a lot more tedious. I wouldn't dislike a return to a slider system but it would likely cost Pdox many players.
I don't miss EU3-style sliders. They show how incremental change is, but arguably are too static. EU3 (and EU2) also had leaders, as well as sliders.

I think leaders really hit their stride in EU4 with the DLC that added ruler personalities, which affect AI decisions as well. Does the ally of an enemy have a Cruel ruler? Maybe you can get them to dishonor their alliance. Did France just get an Aggressive Naive Enthusiast? Hello Napoleon wannabe! Etc. It takes it from "a set of stats a country is stuck with for a while, for better or worse" to "has a meaningful impact on gameplay as well".

I'd be interested in alternative games focused on the same time period. I think the ones there are tend to be focused on more particular aspects of it - e.g. Port Royale focuses in the Caribbean geographically, and trade/pirates thematically. More competition and options is a good thing. That did eventually come to Civilization, with Humankind in particular, but only after an extended period where a significant minority of the fan base was less than pleased with Civ V and Civ VI; there were also more studious producing thematically different games in the same particular genre (4X) in Civilization's case than I'm aware of in the pauseable-grand-strategy-RTS space.

I hadn't heard of Grey Eminence. Looked it up. I agree with those who've said it looks incredibly ambitious for a project from a group of modders, although at least it's the MEIOU modders. The guy listed as lead developers has it listed on his LinkedIn from January 2020 - January 2023, so it has had some time in the oven, but also based on his LinkedIn he isn't on it anymore (couldn't find the LinkedIns for the other developers listed on the project's site). Conceptually, it certainly looks interesting, but with these sorts of projects it's always, "is there the wherewithal to see it through to where it's complete enough and an enjoyable game to play?" The fact that its Patreon is raking in $2K/month and that it was being worked on for 2+ years prior to the Patreon launch suggests it has been funded largely through the founder's YouTube profits. Which, hey, those can be substantial, but it's probably not as good as Humankind being developed by the Endless Legend/Space developer with earnings (including ongoing ones) from those games, with some additional funding from Sega.

In other words their first need is having the funding to have people on it full time (I've been on a project to create an open-source alternative to a Civ game; the greatest hazard to games developed by modders are their day jobs), and then having the expertise. It can work, Kingdom Come: Deliverance being a good example (and one with many industry veterans involved in the project, followed by substantial funding from a rich Czech guy to get it to the finish line), but I'd like to see more hard evidence, including that losing the guy listed as the lead developer isn't too big of a problem.
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